Video Game: Alien Soldier
is a 1995 run-and-gun game by Treasure
for the Sega Genesis
. While it shares some similarities with other run-and-guns, the focus here is on lightning fast reflexes instead of using the strongest weapon avaliable. You play as Epsilon-Eagle, a cybernetic birdman who fights against the rogue organization Scarlet, travelling throughout the galaxy and leaving large amounts of carnage in your wake.
The plot, if it even matters
, concerns a criminal organization of genetically-engineered beings called "Scarlet" who terrorized the planet Sierra. Their members are able to live within humans, animals and machines via a parasitic ability. Epsilon-Eagle, the leader of Scarlet, was ambushed by a team of Sierrans with super powers, and thrown into the space-time continuum
. The new leader of Scarlet, Xi-Tiger, was hated by his own men
for being too ruthless
compared to Epsilon, and as such he wanted to destroy Epsilon once and for all. Xi-Tiger attacked a Sierran research laboratory where he sensed Epsilon in the body of a boy. He took a random girl hostage so as to force Epsilon to come out. Epsilon, instead, transformed from a boy into a cyborg birdman
. However, Epsilon's good human side began to overcome his evilness
and made him want to fight the demons
. This annoyed Xi-Tiger, who killed the girl before running away. The plot actually makes even less sense as it proceeds, with the planet blowing up and Epsilon ending up fighting a giant mechanical lion called Z Leo without the player really having any idea who he is or why this is necessary.
Epsilon's a handy fellow, able to carry four weapons at a time. Each one of these can be chosen from a list at the start of the game:
Epsilon-Eagle has several unique abilities at his disposal, including a dash-like teleportation, levitation, a bullet-neutralizing shield, as well as a Ceiling Cling
. All of these require the player to be on their toes, as waves of enemies and powerful bosses come after them.
This work contains examples of:
- 0% Approval Rating: Xi-Tiger, the new leader of Scarlet. He's hated by his own comrades due to being too ruthless towards the Sierrans, tries to kill off his old deposed leader, but what takes the cake is that he takes an innocent girl hostage AND KILLS HER. When you fight him, he literally transforms himself into a monster tiger.
- Airborne Mook: Those goddamned flies that flew round in random circles, then shot at you and kamikazed into you. Hope you have the Homing Force ready...
- Those bomb-dropping birds can be a pain in the ass too.
- As well as those things that travel in long lines and explode into suicide bullets, found at only one part of the game. A smart player can use the Bullet Catch ability to turn their bullets into health.
- All There in the Manual: The confusing plot, such as it is, is outlined there. Did you know children can turn into birdmen if they're posessed and pissed off enough, or that a clone of a birdman might be a giant metal bird with laser wings?
- The properly-translated version of the rom does tell the story properly in the intro.
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: All weapons except for Lancer get this as their ammunition goes lower.
- Attack Its Weak Point: All bosses have a weak spot, where you must hit if you want to do big damage to them (or even damage them at all).
- Some of the enemies are even more bizarre: they have a different weak spot against different weapons. For example, Wolfgunblood's head is weak to fire weapons and the Buster Force, while Garopa's head is weak to the Lancer Force. Though Homing Force says the target on Wolfgunblood is somewhere else entirely.
- Awesome but Impractical: Ranger, and to a lesser extent, Sword.
- Badass Boast: The engrish laden quote in the title screen (replicated at the top of the page) is essentially this, as it was the tagline for the Japanese campaign of the console. Treasure's usage of the tagline, along with the line "For Megadrivers custom" is their way of saying Alien Soldier was tailor made to push the Megadrive and it's Motorola 68000 CPU to it's absolute limits.
- Bears Are Bad News: Averted by the aformentioned teddy bear, who is the only ally you'll get the whole game. The track that plays during his stage is even named Epsilon's Ally.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Quite a few, such as Antroid, Bugmax (a moth), Viblack (a giant fly) and Back Stringer (which unceremoniously eats the former).
- Bird People: Epsilon-Eagle.
- Blackout Basement: One of the levels takes place in complete blackness save for a few background lights- you have to use your Muzzle Flashlight to light it up.
- Boss Arena Urgency: Back Stringer. If the baby spiders pull the remains of the previous boss, Viblack (a.k.a. the platform you're standing on), to the bottom of the screen until it disappears, you'll keep falling into the bottomless pit OVER AND OVER AGAIN (read: Game Over)!
- Boss Game: Stages are generally short, with only a handful of enemies at a time in the spaces between one boss and the next. It currently holds the world record for "Most boss battles in a run and gun game", at 25.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Limited ammunition for your strongest weapons is one of the largest threats you face. It only recharges when you collect a new weapon, or switch to a different one.
- Bullet Catch: Epsilon-Eagle's main defensive ability. Hit the shoot button twice to create a small forcefield that turns enemy fire into health. Make sure you don't do this with a Lancer equipped, though, since doing so wastes its already-limited ammo and cancels the shot to boot.
- Came Back Wrong: You know that girl that died in your failed attempt to save her? Not only does she became one of the game's bosses, she's freaking Seven Force.
- Cameo: Melon Bread (referred to in this game as "Jampan") and Seven Force, both markedly different from their Gunstar Heroes incarnations.
- Cast from Hit Points: At full health (health bar flashing white), Epsilon-Eagle can utilize a fiery teleport-dash which destroys any Mooks in its path as well as heavily damaging bosses. However, this attack does come at the cost of a few hit points, so you need to collect the rather frequently-dropped health powerups.
- Ceiling Cling: Epsilon-Eagle's other main ability.
- Cherry Tapping: Run out of ammo from one of your weapons and it becomes a weak-as-hell "yellow short-range smoke" shot thing. You can still use it to defeat bosses. It's one of three ways to damage the Final Boss (the other two being shot reflection and your fiery dash which you can only use once against him).
- Collision Damage: Just about every enemy save for some bosses.
- Continuing Is Painful: Using a continue or password removes extra ammunition and health.
- Creepy Child: That girl that Xi-Tiger is said to have killed in the opening text scroll? She shows up as a late game boss.
- Crosshair Aware: When using the Homing Force, a crosshair will appear on the boss' weak spot.
- Epsilon-1 also has these during the boss fight against him. Get out of the way or else you'll be blasted by the mecha bird's Eye Beams or a laser from a Kill Sat.
- Critical Existence Failure: Both Epsilon and his opponents don't show any signs of tiredness or damage at low health.
- Disc One Final Boss: The game continues even after Xi-Tiger is defeated.
- Do Not Run with a Gun: You can switch to and away from fixed-fire mode, though the moving-fire mode drains more weapon power.
- Dub Name Change: The terms "A-Earth" and "A-Human" are changed to "Sierra" and "Sierrans" in the European version.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The planet literally blows up about halfway through the game. Then, um...Well, it's not really that clear.
- Hit Points: You can choose to have this as an indicator to how much life you and/or the boss has.
- Horse Jump: Wolfgunblood and Garopa use this as an "attack" when the low walls appear. You gotta avoid the walls too or risk getting damaged.
- HP to One: No single attack can kill you outright; you must be reduced to one health first, giving you time to collect health. However, some attacks are rapid enough that you won't have a chance for this.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Superhard and Supereasy. Even though the latter is anything but; enemies are less tough, you receive unlimited continues (via a password system) and get an option to slow the game speed down.
- Intentional Engrish for Funny: For a time, this was the only playable ROM.
- Invisible Monsters: Flying-Neo, a creature that looks like a cross between a zombie dragon and a helicopter. Once you get him down to a quarter of it's health, the goddamn thing becomes completely invisible save for a silhouette of its tail and legs on the platform you're on when it flies low or when the lightning strikes.
- Kill It with Fire: You get two flamethrowers; a conventional one, and a homing flamethrower. Fire works very, very well on organic enemies, especially that giant plant Sunset Sting.
- Land Mine Goes Click: Mines, both on the ground and floating in midair, are a common obstacle.
- Last Chance Hit Point: And you're gonna need it.
- Life Meter: One of the selectable ways to know how much life left that you have or the enemy has. If desired, you can turn them off.
- Lightning Reveal: Done in the fight against Flying-Neo. Once you get it down to a quarter of its health, it turns invisible. The background flashes of lightning will give away its silhouette, though.
- Logo Joke: The Sega logo appears and dissipates against a space background, along with the Treasure logo.
- Meaningful Name:
- Wolfgunblood and Garopa: If you think it's a wolf who wields a gun, is out for your blood, and is riding on a galloper, you're damn right.
- Sniper Honeyviper: It looks like a snake, and it sends out bees. Thankfully it can't give you headshots.
- Antroid: Ant + Android, it is indeed a giant humanoid ant.
- Back Stringer: Being a spider, it strings things up. On their backs, presumably.
- Shellshogun: A bipedal alien samurai tortoise. Enough said.
- Seven Force: See below.
- Mechanical Horse: Wolfgunblood rides one of these.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: From half man, half eagle to half lion and half mecha
- Muzzle Flashlight: You're going to have to utilize this in the Blackout Basement stage.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Many of the bosses:
- Nintendo Hard: Even on the easiest difficulty, the game is obscenely hard in Treasure tradition.
- Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Somewhat. Falling into a pit will trigger a button-mashing sequence to get out while your health drops at a steady rate.
- Painful Transformation: Xi-Tiger. Though the cutscene showing this sometimes doesn't work.
- Power Floats: Epsilon-Eagle's other other main ability. Hit the jump button in midair to do this.
- Ring Menu: The action does not stop while this is open.
- Rule of Cool: Wolfgunblood is a anthropomorphic cyborg cowboy wolf with a gatling Arm Cannon, riding on a Mechanical Horse, Garopa. It's one of the strangest boss fights in the game. See the picture at the top of the page.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: During the initial weapon selection and configuration, the player has the option to make all information about his health, ammunition and boss health into '???', essentially preventing the player from tracking how much damage was taken or dealt or how much ammo they have left.
- Sequential Boss: Seven Force, which only has six forms (including the human form she starts in). This is because the "Seven" is a reference to the Mode 7-style rotation effects the boss showcases, not the number of forms it has.
- Shown Their Work: The developers made it such that fire attacks don't work underwater when fighting against Sirene Force. Fire still works in space, though.
- Spread Shot: The Hunter Force. Pity it was kind of useless from the beginning...
- Stat Meters: Upon startup, you can choose how your health, your ammunition, and the bosses' health meters are displayed. They can be made invisible, even.